My Favourite Player: Brett Walker on Stephen Vogt

Whether they’re willing to admit it or not, every baseball fan has a favourite baseball player. Maybe it’s their favourite team’s current ace, the random right fielder whose jersey they received as a Christmas gift when they were eight years old, or a promising prospect whose career was cut short by injury.

In this new series, we’ll be asking British baseball fans to tell us how their favourite player came to be their favourite player and a whole lot more. Next up, Bat Flips and Nerds Oakland A’s contributor Brett Walker, aka @BrettChatsSport, tells us about his love of Stephen Vogt.

First off, why Stephen Vogt?

I gravitated towards Vogt when I first started supporting the Oakland A’s precisely because he wasn’t the most naturally-gifted baseball player on the team. Instead, he had to work hard to keep getting chances from Bob Melvin.

I suppose it’s that British thing of valuing hard work and effort as much, if not more, as achievement. Vogt would do a good job as a catcher, and then have his at-bats. He wasn’t the greatest hitter, but, again, he’d do his job – he’d crowd the plate, get some walks and get some decent hits. All-in-all, he had a career batting average of .239, which isn’t terrible.

It also helps that he batted left-handed – we left-handed people have to stick together against the tyranny of this awful right-handed world!

What’s your earliest memory of watching him play?

No particular early memories stick out. More a case of making note of each A’s player when I first started watching baseball and thinking to myself ‘OK, that guy isn’t the most spectacular. He isn’t going to lead the team in home runs or anything, but he does his job and he does it well.’

Tell us about your favourite Stephen Vogt moment

It has to be his last-ever game before he retired as an A at the end of the 2022 season.

In finest A’s tradition, Vogt was waived midway through the 2017 season despite still being a valuable part of the team, so I was delighted when we re-signed him at the start of the 2022 season. It was great to see him back in the kelly green that season and it was great that he got to retire with the team where it all started for him in the major leagues.

I’m not too pleased with the A’s currently given the move to Las Vegas and all that, but they did right by Vogt in his last-ever game against the Angels – he got introduced onto the field at the start of the game by his kids and then hit a home run in his last-ever at-bat.

The perfect ending for a guy who thoroughly deserved it.

All the best to him as he now starts his managerial journey with the Cleveland Guardians.

Do you own any Stephen Vogt merchandise?

I do not. One of the things you have to realise very quickly as an A’s fan is to not get too invested in any one player, because they will more than likely get traded or waived by the organisation sooner rather than later.

I have my Oakland A’s cap. I have A’s t-shirts, but nothing specific to Vogt or any other player to have worn the green and gold.

What’s your favourite highlight?

Watching Vogt hit a home run in his last-ever at-bat as described above.

Photo: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Brett Walker is the Oakland Athletics contributor for Bat Flips &Nerds and can be found on Twitter @BrettChatsSport.

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